On Sept. 1, the Texas anti-abortion bill took effect after the Supreme Court did not act to block it. This bill bans abortions once cardiac activity can be detected, typically about week six of a pregnancy. According to abortion providers in Texas, 85 percent of patients seeking abortion are already at least six weeks pregnant. In effect, the bill bans abortions. No exceptions for rape or incest are allowed. The consequences of the law will be especially dire for teenagers, low-income people, and undocumented immigrants.
To evade judicial challenges, the Texas law actually bans state officials from enforcing it; rather, private citizens may receive a $10,000 reward if they win a civil lawsuit against anyone who performs an abortion or “aids and abets” a procedure, for example by simply driving someone to an abortion clinic. Thus Texas encourages vigilante justice.
New Jersey has a chance to be a national leader to provide an alternative to legislative initiatives in conservative states. In fact, after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg last year, many New Jersey legislators and Gov. Murphy supported the Reproductive Freedom Act, which would guarantee the right to abortion and expand access to essential reproductive health care services. However, Senate President Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Coughlin have essentially blocked it for eleven months by not advancing it to committee or scheduling a vote on it.
Please write or call your representative and senator to urge them to move this bill forward and vote for it.